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South Norfolk MP reports himself to data watchdog after email mistake

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The MP for South Norfolk, Richard Bacon, has landed himself in hot water after accidentally disclosing the email addresses of almost 100 of his constituents who had written to him.

After 86 residents contacted him, Mr Bacon sent out a single response to all of those who had complained, acknowledging that he had received their emails and asking those who had not included their residential address to send it.

Little did he know the email addresses of all 86 senders was shared in his response – constituting a breach of data protection laws.

Conservative MP for South Norfolk, Richard Bacon. Picture by Mark Bullimore.
Conservative MP for South Norfolk, Richard Bacon. Picture by Mark Bullimore.

Shortly afterwards, the Conservative MP sent a follow-up asking all recipients to delete the previous email, adding that he had reported himself to the ICO – the data watchdog.

After being contacted by the Diss Express about the incident, Mr Bacon said: “On Tuesday, we accidentally sent an acknowledgement email to 84 people where their email addresses were visible to each other.

“We realised our error immediately, contacted the ICO and have been following their advice. Accordingly, we have already contacted everyone affected, asking people to delete the message they received.

“We deal with thousands of emails every month and this is the first time this error has occurred.

“I apologise for it and continue to help my constituents with the matters they have raised.

“Unfortunately, the use of social media has increased the frequency with which emails arrive for my attention, which contain inaccurate and sometimes very distorted versions of what is taking place in Parliament.

“This phenomenon, combined with the recent high volume of emails on these topics, has meant that it has taken longer than usual to send an individual reply to each constituent in the way that I will continue to do.”

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